Monday, July 20, 2015

From the top

I love set-in sleeve sweaters. In my opinion, they are the most universally flattering garment style. But in order for them to flatter, they really need to fit properly.

With a classic, bottom-up, pieced sweater, where the sleeves are knit separately then sewn into the armholes, adjusting the fit of the upper bodice, armholes and sleeve caps is no trivial matter. Because of this, knitters are often advised to leave these areas alone and focus on fitting bust and hips. But if your shoulders are wider or narrower than the industry standard, or if you have very slender arms, (or massive guns like I do), you need to be able to make adjustments.

It turns out that if you work a set-in sleeve from the top, starting with stitches picked up around the armhole, it’s much, much easier to fine-tune the fit of the upper bodice, armhole and sleeve cap. Giving knitters a better understanding of how set-in sleeves work, and providing them with the tools to make them fit perfectly is what Top Down: Reimagining Set-in Sleeve Design—the new book I've just published with Quince and Co—is all about. Here’s a peek at what you’ll find between the covers:

  • An overview of set-in sleeve architecture
  • An improved method for knitting sleeves from the top, designed to mirror the clever shaping found in a conventionally set-in sleeve
  • Tips on measuring and fitting
  • Extensive section on making pattern adjustments, both to accommodate gauge differences, and to tailor the fit of the sweater to fit you beautifully
  • Detailed patterns for six classic set-in sleeve sweaters

For more photos of the sweater designs view the online lookbook.

A print book/e-book bundle is available for pre-order from the Quince and Co website. Print books will begin shipping August 6th, but the ebook can be downloaded immediately. The e-book is also sold separately.

If you’d like to join others who are knitting the designs in the book, a knit-along will be happening in the Quince Ravelry group. The KAL starts Thursday August 6th and runs through October 1st.

And if you’d like some help with swatching, measuring gauge, evaluating fabric, as well as making adjustments for gauge differences, come join in the swatch-along just getting started in the Blue Bee Knits group. Quince will be giving away a $25 gift certificate to one lucky winner, chosen at random from the finished swatch thread. Pretty great for just knitting a gauge swatch!


  1. Just had this book delivered to me ( via Amazon) and there are just NO words for me to describe what a great book this is! I have background in sewing and recently made a sloper ( to non sewers its like a body blueprint which I base all patterns from) and you hit it dead ON with how you approach the knit sleeve! It is like this is got to be SO well measured via try ons, and measurements that one probably would be hard pressed to find this in pieced knitwear, That said, as in sewing, I always make a " muslin"( first try out not using the best fabric), I will be starting mine soon after I finish up some other sweaters I have going, All the sweaters in the book appeal to me,,,,as well as to a 13 yr old,,,because they are classic,( and downright pretty too!) Love love love your new book! Congrats on a job well done!

  2. Thank you! I'm so glad you found the book useful!